Friday, July 22, 2011


In the days following the LOVE run, I've had people ask me things like: "What did you do when you were bored?", "If you were in so much pain, why did you keep going?", and "What did you learn?". It has now been about three weeks since the run ended and I feel like I finally have had time to reflect more upon my experiences during the run.

So, What did I learn?

1. Be in the moment. This is something I've been practicing for a long time, especially ever since I began my yoga practice. This was a lesson that became especially clear to me during this run. There were quite a few times where I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish. But the thought of not finishing came from worries about the future. There were quite a few moments when I felt pretty substantial pain in my knees and I started to think that I wouldn't be able to continue. But if I checked in and asked myself "How am I right now?", I usually could answer "okay". Sure, my knees hurt like crazy, but at least I could walk....and I knew I wasn't making anything worse. And, I truly have seen people in worse shape finishing 50 miles and 100 miles races....or just trying to live life. Interestingly, when intense pain did arise, it would often subside, so if I stayed present, I could just ride that wave of sensation, allow sensation to wash over me, and usually come back to a place where all was a little brighter. Which leads me to my other lesson....

2. Impermanence of all things. I know that sometimes when I am in pain, fear, or sadness, it sometimes seem like those feelings can consume me. That they might never go away. More and more my practice connects me back to the impermanence of all things. On this run, I would experience intense sensation and sometimes get to a point where even walking was challenging. So, I would pause, ice my knee, breathe, and then continue on. Every day, the pain would subside. On day 2, I was "forced" to walk 8 miles because of knee pain and I was feeling pretty unhappy about it...eventually, i took a quick break, changed shoes, and soon was running again. And it felt great! Not only did my knee pain disappear, but my spirits had lifted as well. I was running by gorgeous countryside under a beautiful blue sky and loving life! This feeling continued until the end of that run that day. Recognizing the impermanence of all things has helped greatly in the past when dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. When experiencing a panic attack, it sometimes feels as if I really just might be dying...and that is terrifying...hence the term "panic attack". All it truly is, though, is fear. By staying present, i can allow the feeling of fear to wash through my awareness, and even though it may seem like fear is going to stay forever, truly, the fear always subsides. Sensation, emotions are all just perceptions that wash through awareness....they come and go like the rising and falling of the breath. This run was a nice reminder of that.

3. Let go of expectations. If nothings is permanent and if I truly stay in the moment, then letting go of expectations should be easy :) But this is always a practice of mine. I would end a day feeling awesome and amazing....wake up the next day, thinking, "i am going to feel great!" In a mile my knees would be throbbing. Or I'd be in tons of pain, thinking "i can't do this tomorrow"...and I'd start running and I'd feel great. I worked for hours trying to bring together the food community and many others for the yoga event in Des Moines, and the only day it stormed on my run was the morning of the outdoor yoga class....and so it was cancelled. True joy, peace and love are within me. Every day I am reminded of this, and the run taught me this even more so. If I get caught up in expectations, I am hopping on a roller coaster of anticipation, temporary happiness and then disappointment. Peace is within me. Each day I practice, letting go of expectations, living moment to moment, staying present with LIFE, embracing each moment as it comes to me.

4. Gratitude. This run made me much more aware of gratitude for so many things. I truly live a blessed life. Just having the opportunity to do this was amazing. So many people are struggling to just meet their basic find food, clean water etc. I am so grateful to be able to have the abundance in my life that allowed me to go on this adventure to honor my ancestors and explore my own edge. I am so grateful for my body! Sure my IT bands hurt....but that is really not so many people out there struggle to run 5 miles? Or run a mile? Or even get out of bed in the morning? I am so blessed with good health. i am grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. The earth and sky just shined with so much beauty every day. I am thankful for that lovely breeze that gently pushed at my back and for the pelicans that danced in the sky on the last day of my run. I am grateful for the bright green grasses that swayed in the breeze giving the appearance of waves flowing in an ocean. I am extremely grateful for all the people in my life who supported me, nurtured me, cheered for me, listened to me, hugged me, and love me on this whole journey...and who continue to do so today!!

5. I love community! Well, I guess this is also something I've always known, but this run truly made me even more aware of how wonderful people are. I truly couldn't have done this without the support of so many people. Without my support crew, Tim, Victoria, Mom, Steve Flynn, I really would have struggled making it past the first day! Thank you a million times from the bottom of my heart! These guys were so incredibly helpful!!! Then, the community in Des Moines...Ed Fallon, my PFI friends, the Iowa City crew that came out to meet me (Alisa,Josh, James, Mary, Dave), Kelly and Dan...all of these people played such a tremendous role in helping me move forward on some pretty tough days! I had so many wonderful hosts....THe Lotus House of Yoga crew in Omaha, Ed and the Catholic Worker House, Brian and Marcia in Newton, Monica and the Studio Z Yoga community in Des many kind people that I barely knew opened their homes to me and my whole crew! So much kindness. The Iowa City community stunned me with support during the yoga class on Wednesday night. What amazing energy as close to 100 friends and yogi's joined together in community to practice on a glorious evening! Your support truly warms my heart. So many in the Iowa City community helped me by running (Shane, Derek, Jennifer, Bruce) or biking (Christy and Mary) with me! Those last couple of days were tough ones, and the company of these beautiful souls was so priceless! Then there was a whole crew of people who took care of me...massage from Nancy and Kaylyn, PT from Tim, Osteopathic treatment from John Macatee....and the people who helped celebrate....Bruce and Nancy put together an awesome little celebration while Alisa, Jen, Lore and Mary all decorated my house (I'm still finding confetti!!). Zac and Hollie took care of my dogs....every day friends sent inspiring texts and messages....this list could go on and on and on. I love, love, love you all soooo much.

Why did I keep going? Well, nothing ever told me to stop. Everything told me to continue. If I checked in with the pain that I was feeling, I was always reassured that it was nothing causing long term damage. And, if the pain or emotions got intense....just at the point where I thought I coldn't take it, then they would subside. Often times it would be followed up with feelings of great joy and love! The whole universe seemed to be encouraging me to continue on....the love and support of people, a strong breeze that would literally push me to keep on. The butterfly the sat on my back, and the pelicans that danced for me. On the last day it was supposed to be 100 degrees, but when I ran, the clouds covered the sun and the breeze fanned my face. I really felt like everything was coming together to help me on this journey. I am so grateful for that.

I am still enjoying my recovery! Today I ran about 7 miles...not all at once....I am still very much aware of my IT bands, but it is not so bad!! We'll see how things go, and if all goes well, I'll try a 50 mile trial run in September. But, i am not going to push it :) This week, I've had the opportunity to practice about 3 hours of yoga every day. Just what my body, mind and spirit needed!! I am truly feeling more and more refreshed and rejuvenated with every day that passes! Next week I head to Lake Tahoe for Wanderlust! I am so incredibly excited to join the global yoga and music community to celebrate LIFE. I am looking forward to connecting with friends, meeting new bright spirits, BEING in the mountains, and DANCING!

May the longtime sun shine upon you. May all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way on.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LOVE run photos

Here are some random pictures from the LOVE run! They are in no particular order but highlight some of the fun on course! I am still soooo thankful to all of the people who helped in so many ways. I couldn't have done it without you!

Mary and Dave getting ride to ride with me as I leave Des Moines.

Alisa is always the most awesome fan! She and Victoria are putting the finishing touch on posters :)

A little yoga at the Mississippi! My legs were done but my arms were fine :)


The Mississippi never felt so great!

Almost done....hiking with my sister Erin!

Jogging on a hot day with Shane!

A classic scene from a road in Iowa :)

LOVE run Yoga in Iowa City: A perfect night! Nearly 100 people came out to celebrate!

Running into Des Moines with Colin....We are rockin' the toe shoes!

The start at the Missouri with Steve Flynn

This is the train track that we hiked on when our road disappeared. Nice place for yoga too!

Day 1: Hancock, Iowa!

Friday, July 8, 2011

LOVE Run Recovery!

It has now been a whole week since I sat with my feet in the Mississippi on my final day of the LOVE run, and I am happy to say that I am definitely feeling most of the way recovered! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that it took a whole week to get back to this point. For whatever reason, I thought the aches and pains and tired feeling would melt away after two days like it has with all my other endurance adventures. However, this one was a bit feet were back at their normal size by Tuesday, the tendonitis in my ankle is about 90% gone and we'll see about those IT bands. This is the first morning that they haven't hurt upon waking, so we'll see how they do when I take my dogs for a walk. I've also been feeling a little tired from my week of restless sleep and have been enjoying some super lovely afternoon naps.

Last night was the first night I slept through the night without aching legs waking me up. YAY! I didn't have to take any ibuprofen nor did I have to put my legs up the wall at midnight. The only lingering effect is that I am STILL dreaming that I am running! Last night in my dream I finished the run, so I am hopefully now done with the run in my subconcious mind too.

I have had so many people help me out with this recovery. I have had 5 massages from the most beautiful angel, Nancy Lincoln and I have received a most amazing 2.5 hour hot/cold stone massage from Kaylyn Hoskins. On top of massage, I've now received osteopathic work from John Macatee and chiropractic work from Dr. Jane at Synchronicity Chiropractic. Talk about spoiled!!! And, I know that I have had even more people than I can imagine sending light and healing energy my way, which I am also so thankful for!

And, I have stuck to my promise of no running for a week, but I have enjoyed some nice walks with my sweet pups, and I have been doing at least 90 minutes of yoga each day...with extra bonus emphasis on stretching those IT bands.

Part of my recovery has definitely been EATING!! During the run I got used to eating just about constantly, and that continued for the first couple of days. I even got up at 2AM one night to have a snack. I think chocolate has been a key recovery food for me. It all started with that delicious gluten free, dairy and egg free chocolate cake from the co-op. Bruce served it at his house as he hosted the most awesome LOVE run celebration party! Somehow the cake ended up coming home with me....and as many of you know, I lack self-control when it comes to sweet things in my house. I usually work around this by making sure sweet things don't come into my house too often, but when they out! Luckily I had just run 300 miles, so I really didn't care at this point! I began eating about three pieces of chocolate cake a day. I did lose about 3 lbs on this run, so I had some catching up to do :)

In general, I really feel great! I am starting to think about my next races.....hopefully the 24 hr Thunder Rolls Adventure race in August (if i can get my team together), and then most likely a 50 mile trail run in September...perhaps the North Face Race in Kettle Moraine, WI. I have also been giving thought to my next big adventure. I'd like to do something next year. Not sure what. I'd like to run across the whole country, but I'd do it without the pressure of a timeline. I'd also like to take this running adventure outside of the US. Perhaps a run across a different country or some other cool natural feature. Any ideas?

I have enjoyed taking and teaching a bunch of yoga this week, and I am looking forward to the arrival of Sam and Dan of the Yogaslackers this weekend and to practicing some acro and slackline yoga! I would love to have everyone join us! These guys are phenomenal teachers and just tons of fun.

Much love and light to all!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 10: Hello Mississippi!

I can hardly believe it, but my run is over! In some ways, it feels like the whole experience went super fast (other times it definitely went excruciatingly slow)....I truly can hardly believe that 10 days have past.

Since the heat index was forecasted to be near 110, we decided to get on the road by 4:30AM. My poor family and poor Victoria:) I think almost everyone in my "entourage" would have been more likely to go to bed at 4AM than getup at that time! But we all did it. We had a bit of a drive to get out to the Wilton area, but I think I was running by about 5:15.

Yesterday was a pretty emotional day for me. I would love to say that I was so excited to be finished that I just started running free of pain with tons of enthusiasm straight to the finish line. The first couple of miles may have started that way. The sun came up as a bright red ball of fire against the hazy sky....and that moved me to tears. So much beauty and I was feeling all that emotion of running on my last day. However, after two miles, my course turned to gravel. The majority of the next 16 miles were all gravel. With my feet blistered, a swollen/discolored left foot, shin splints on my left leg, and IT bands that were still on fire...gravel was not my friend. I tried running a bit and even switched back to those trail shoes that had blistered my feet so badly on day 2. My feet and knees were just too unstable to almost felt like trying to run in sand. So, I walked....and walked...and walked. I tried to tell myself "Ah, it is the last day...and this is what your great grandfather you can walk for him". But, as I must have said a million times on this run, I am a runner not a walker!! And now, I wanted to be done!!! This walking was not only slow, but it was still super painful. Once again, even on my last day of running, I went into the mini-depression and just could not wait to be done. All I wanted at this point was to not be in pain any more. So many lessons for me on this journey.

I actually ended cutting my route short. All day long, I knew that if i turned south on just about any road, it would take me to the Mississippi. If you check out a map of Iowa, Davenport sticks way out there, and Muscatine is much further west. After walking on the gravelly, uneven shoulder of highway 61 (a 4 lane highway) for about 3+ miles, my sister said, "hey, if you turn here, you can be at the Mississippi in 5 miles". At this point, i know my mom was getting worried about me due to the rising temperatures. (although I must add it really was super pleasant all morning...thanks weather gods!) I had made it well past Muscatine but wasn't quite to Davenport; it seemed like a good compromise. And, honestly, I was totally and completely ready to be done. I did not want to be in pain anymore.

Four more miles on gravel through beautiful countryside surrounding the Mississippi and then one final mile on pavement. As we neared the finish, a flock of pelicans danced in the sky for us! And for the last two miles, a butterfly sat on my shoulder! Thank you, Nature, for your guides and companions! Victoria accompanied me for almost the whole walk on Friday and my sweet sister Erin was with me for the last five. Meanwhile, Mom and Dann continued to make sure that water, food and ice was available every mile or so. What awesome support! In that last mile, Mom and Dann drove off so that they could hold up a make-shift "finish-line" for me to break. Erin had made a crown of black-eyed susans for me (a perfect native Iowa flower!!). So, I jogged down that final hill and that was it. After 10 days, I was finally done. Like some of the other really hard races I have done, I actually didn't even feel excited at this point. My overwhelming feeling was one of relief and exhaustion. I was so happy to just be able to take a break! But, I knew that feeling of excitement would come once I had a chance to rest a bit...and it did :)

At the point where I stopped, I couldn't actually get to the Mississippi...too much thick brush, and with a pretty strong poison ivy allergy, I wasn't about to go bushwhacking in shorts :) We made our way down river to a beautiful little park where I got to stick my feet in the Mississippi, which felt sooooo good on many different levels! We got out a bunch of food and had a lovely picnic right by the water. Afterward we drove up to Davenport, where we went straight for ice cream! Then it was back to the Mississippi River by about 2:30, and that is where I stayed for the next four hours. I sprawled out under a tree, enjoyed the shade and the cool breeze coming off the Mississippi. At some point a news station stopped by to do an interview and eventually a group of friends from IC and some of the Slow Food community in Davenport came out for some yoga and a picnic. I was sooo thrilled to see a lovely group of people drive down all the way from Iowa City! I love you guys so much!!! I know that none of my group was especially excited to do any kind of yoga that involved moving much (and it was still in the mid-90's), so when my mom suggested that I just lead a yoga nidra practice, I jumped on it. It really was quite lovely to do a deep meditative practice right next to that Mississippi River that I had been chasing for 10 days.

In all, it was another hard day, but still full of so much beauty and so much wonderful love and support from friends and family. I still cannot get over just how much people have been giving me all week. I am so grateful that I can't even find words to describe.

And now I just need to heal! Looks like I will be taking it easy for a couple of days :) If anyone has any good book suggestions, let me know. "Taking it easy" has never been my strong point, so I better come up with something to entertain myself...haha. I'll write more tomorrow with some final reflections and even more thanks! I truly couldn't have done this without the support of so many people!!

In the end, I feel that my heart is full and I cannot give enough thanks to all the people and spirit that carried me through. Big love to you all!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 8/9 Getting closer....

Wow...I don't even know where to start today. The last two days have been full of such beauty and so much support and love from friends that I hardly know what to say. About 285 miles done and one more day to go!!! I can hardly believe it.

Running to Iowa City was pretty emotional for me. I started out just west of Parnell and had the luck of running under the prettiest morning sky that I have ever seen. The clouds were unlike any I've ever seen before. It was like the gods had parted the sky and I could practically see rays of love energy shining down on the planet. Day 7 had been particularly painful for me, so I was relieved to find that I could actually run this morning with minimal pain. The previous day I had cut my run short to receive massage from Nancy and PT treatment from Tim....he did this magic tape job on my legs...which helped soooo much! The lack of pain actually gave me the opportunity to enjoy that magical sky and some of the prettiest countryside I've ever seen. About an hour into the run, the most awesome Mary Dix joined me on her bike. We shared stories, stared in awe at the beauty of the sky and enjoyed an awesome morning. Another hour or so passed and Christy joined me on her bike! Every little show of support, sign of beauty etc moved me to tears yesterday. So much gratitude.

Even lunch was more exciting. A a super sweet reporter from KCRG found me and did a quick interview...I was hoping that my hair looked okay :)

In the afternoon Bruce Thayer joined me for a lovely 7 mile hike into Iowa City. I could feel my spirits lift as we approached the city. About 1 mile from IC, Nancy called to say that she had another massage opening at Twin Image, which just so happened to be one block from my ending point. So, I literally walked straight to the spa. I hobbled in, collapsed on the chair, and hopefully didn't offend the customers too much when I took off my shoes. From the massage, I went straight to my TIm the PT's house to get taped! So sweet of him to do this for me again!! Got home just in time to eat a quick bite of food before heading right out to College Green Park. The gods were smiling as they provided the most gorgeous evening in the world for a community yoga class.

Again, I can't even describe how much bliss and gratitude I felt with the yoga class. Close to 100 people came out to show their support and be with each other for a magical evening. I am so thankful for the other teachers, Chris who provided music for us, Jennifer who provided food for the evening, the many people who helped to promote the evening....and of course, the most gratitude for every single person who was there! It was so beautiful to just be there with everyone practicing together...even though I couldn't really do half the postures last night...just to be in that energy uplifted and inspired me. Thank you a million times.

This morning, I met Jen Oliver, Shane and Derrek for a run towards Wilton Iowa! Sweet Jen told us that she had never run more than ten miles...and she didn't even call her husband for a ride until she had gone 12 this morning. Then, of course, it took him a while to get here, so by the time she was done, she had run 15 miles!! Rock star! Meanwhile, Shane had just completed, and won (!!!) a 100 mile trail run just two weeks ago...and he still ran with me the whole day! And boy was it helpful. Despite being only one day from the end, I once again went through a time period of thinking that I couldn't do it. As a seasoned ultra runner with a huge heart, Shane knew just the right things to say to keep me going. As usual, the intense pain once again passed, I made it to lunch and then was even able to run again for portions of the last 4 miles. Today my sister Erin and her husband Dann joined us after traveling all the way from Toronto!! They had cups of water ready for us at least every hour and smiled and cheered for us all along the way! SO nice to be with my mom and sister now!! Everyone single person with me today was so incredibly supportive. How lucky am I???

For the first time, it had gotten hot! It was about 92 by the time I had finished, but those weather gods were smiling...a lovely breeze fanned us as we made our way through the last portions of the course today. Another highlight on course today was a small herd of alpacas that came right up to the fence to say hello. Soo cute!!! I think I might get a couple as a reward for myself for finishing this run. Alpacas and a couple of goats. Seems like an appropriate prize, right?

For lunch today, I was actually craving meat. I think my iron had gotten low after all this running, and wanted nothing more than a big, fat juicy steak. To my delight, right around lunch time, I saw a herd of buffalo. So I started jogging after them. I had heard that humans have in fact run animals down to the point of exhaustion in what is called persistence hunting. After all these days on the go, here was my opportunity to try it. I was slow and steady and began to zero in on the weak buffalo. With the hot temperatures, I was able to make good progress (buffalo can't really sweat). Soon I was close enough to hone in on my prey. I didn't have a spear, but luckily, I had my trusty trekking pole....okay, i can't even type this out as a pretend story, because even the thought of killing a buffalo is making me sad!! So, I actually just stuck with my carrots, tofu and potato chips. Can I tell you how many potato chips I've eaten on this trip??? I think I might turn into one soon.

And now here I sit on the eve of my last day. Wow...just typing that is almost making me misty eyed. I've wanted to quit so many times that I can hardly believe that I am about to finish this. Again, no expectations, so until I am done, I know that there will be some hard work ahead of me. High's near 100 tomorrow and I still have a little over 20 miles to go. With the heat, we'll be leaving the house at 4:30AM and hope to get running a little after 5AM. If all goes well, I might be celebrating at lunch. So keep sending those positive thought and beautiful energy my way for happy legs and another cool breeze :)

May all beings be happy, may all beings be healthy, and may all beings be free from fear.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 7: Pamper Jeanelle Day :)

First of all, I just have to say how much I enjoyed the yoga at Grinnell Heritage Farm last night. What a beautiful location and such an awesome community. We practiced in a grassy area overlooking a pond...the sky was blue with puffy white clouds, just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away, and we had an audience of goats! As we started, the four goats were standing in a row with their front hoofs on the fence just watching us, like they couldn't figure out what those silly humans were doing. Those goats may have been the cutest things I've ever seen. After yoga, Monica very graciously provided us all with a delicious dinner and then it was off to bed. It was a restless sleep for 11PM I grabbed more ice for my feet and 2Am someone called me three times trying to deliver food? But we woke with the sun shining and birds singing!

I actually began today's run in much better spirits. The yoga from the night before, the beautiful community and that brilliant sun left me feeling much less overwhelmed by the day's miles. My legs felt okay comparatively, so I started running right away and cranked out about 6 miles. Then, you guessed it, the IT bands leveled me again....back to barely walking. Took more Advil, more ice and was back to running...and that's pretty much how the rest of the day went. Each step is painful, but every so often it become so painful I can't walk. So more ice and advil and I can go again! It one of my "weak" moments I called Tina, my dearest physician friend, who scheduled me an appointment with a physical therapist. Soon after my sweetest friend Nancy called to tell me that she was going to meet me tonight and give me a massage! All that good news helped me move from one mile to the next, eagerly anticipating this evening of pampering and a night in my own bed. I really couldn't get over just how beautiful this day was. The sky was so blue and I saw so many wild flowers today! I've seen so many parts of Iowa that I never would have seen otherwise. I should also add that Victoria joined me for about 8 or 9 miles today. She has been along on the trip since the start, documenting the entire trip. I think it was on day 2 that she mentioned that she wanted to train for a marathon! So she's started now, that's for sure.

I did have one crazy adventure today. After lunch, I was jogging down a remote gravel road in the middle of no where Iowa when all of a sudden I had a feeling that I was being watched. Then I heard a slight rustle in the bushes and glanced to my left. All of a sudden a mountain lion appeared! She walked right out in to the road in front of me. Now, many might find this startling, but after my years in the circus as an apprentice to a lion tamer I knew just what to do. I calmly spoke to her and practiced my "lion whispering" skills. Before you knew it, she was lying on her back and I was rubbing her belly. Soon I even convinced her to give me a ride down the road a bit to ease the pain of my IT bands! HAHAHA ...I just thought all this talk of IT bands was getting boring so I wanted to spice it up a bit :) I didn't really see a mountain lion and I never even worked in the circus. I did see some cows, horses, bunnies, and deer today though :) None of them gave me a ride, although I seriously consider hopping on every single one of the horses that I pass.

I ended up cutting my run short by about 2 miles today so that I could make the physical therapy appointment. Talk about another rock star....they just squeezed me in between other clients, ultra sounded my IT bands and then taped up my knee with awesome blue tape. I am looking cuter and cuter by the moment on this run. Giant toes, crazy tan lines, dirt all over me, and now bright blue tape all over my legs! But, I really think it is helping already. Tim, my physical therapist, said it should stay on for the next couple of days, but he offered to reapply it again if it helped and I needed it. What amazing generosity! Interestingly, the woman assisting my PT was one of my old microbiology students. I definitely got the idea that they both thought I was a little crazy...but anyone who knows me has known that for a while :)

now I am home to sleep in my own bed tonight, and I am eagerly anticipating my sweet Nancy's arrival... not only is she an amazing body worker and healer, but she has one of the biggest hearts in the world. Oh and I walked in to streamers, confetti and decorations everywhere...a sure sign that Alisa and crew have been here. I have the best friends in the world!!! I love you all so much!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 6: A beautiful day in the HEARTland

After a stormy, wild night in Newton we were up at 5AM and on the before 6AM. It looked like rain might be coming, which isn't a big deal, but it led me to a bit of a dilemma about what to do about shoes. Despite having brought four pairs of shoes with me, I've found that I can only wear one pair....and that's the pair I've worn for the last three days...and if it were going to rain, I wanted to keep them dry for the long miles of the day. They are my oldest pair of Vibrams (toe shoes), with holes between the toes, holes in the side of the shoe, and the tred pretty much worn off the bottom. But, they feel great! Or at least as great as a shoe can feel right now....just enough to protect my feet from the gravel. Anyway, I tried on all my other shoes that I brought, and went back to my oldest pair of VIbrams. Thankfully, the rain held off, and my feet stayed happy.

I went through what is becoming my mini-morning depression. That time when I am sore and I feel like there is no way I can do this. This morning, the negative self talk was "I don't want to be in pain any more". Just kept running through my head. I kept reminding myself that I have it good, and that this is temporary, and I don't believe I am doing anything to cause permanent I kept going anyway. The miles slowly passed and soon I was running pretty hard. The first 18 miles were actually quite phenomenal! Somewhere around mile 19, I took a break to walk and the IT band cramped up big the point where I couldn't even comes on so suddenly. But, instead of getting so emotional about it, I put ice on it, rested for 10 minutes and started again. Another two miles to lunch in Searsboro, IA. There was one lone pavillion by the side of the road, just waiting for us to have a picnic! It was probably about 72 degrees, sunny, puffy white clouds, and a nice breeze. A gorgeous afternoon!

At this point I had 9 miles to go, and I gave myself permission to walk to try to give the IT bands a break. After lunch they felt good though, so I tried a little more jogging until around mile 22 the other IT band cramped to the point of not being able to walk. A little ice, and I was back to walking again. At this point, I listened to my body and enjoyed a lovely walk on a most beautiful day in Iowa.

Walking really gives me time to enjoy the country side. Today I enjoyed how the wind blows across the grasses and the corn fields creating a rippling wave effect, reminding me of the ocean. I saw a gorgeous prairie full of brilliant wildflower! Near Montezuma, Iowa I ran by a sparkling lake and forest! I forgot to mention that yesterday I ran through a wildlife preserve/prairie just south of the Newton area. A herd of buffalo roam these lands (though I never did see them yesterday). For a moment I felt as though I was seeing Iowa as it must have looked 200 years ago (minus the powerlines...haha). Instead of corn and soy, grasslands stretcehd as far as the eye could see. So beautiful.

Now I am hanging out at Monica's house in Grinnell, and I am super psyched to teachyoga in less than an hour! In fact, I probably better start getting myself into a state where I am ready to teach! I feel I like I haven't taught in ages, and I have missed it! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share the gift of yoga on a farm! Grinnell Heritage Farms runs a super popular CSA and I can't wait to check it out!

I estimate that I have run about 205 miles, which means that I am 2/3 of the way across! Woohoo!! Still taking it day by day...mile by mile :)

As always, much love to you all!